The Santee United Methodist Church was started by a group of earnest Christians in the old Santee Elementary School on Mission Gorge and Edgemoor Drive. Afternoon services were held and attended by people of several denominations. The women started a Ladies Aid Group, with interest in establishing a house of worship. Consequently, a meeting was held at the home of L.I. Porter for the purpose of deciding on the denomination of the church to be built.
It was decided that the church would be the Santee Methodist Episcopal Church. It soon became known as the Santee Community Church, and was chartered by the State of California. The first Methodist service was held in the Santee schoolhouse at 4 PM on Sunday, June 4, 1911, with the Reverend Frank Edwards reading one of the letters of Paul to the Corinthians. On June 25, 1911, thirty-three people were received into membership and work began on building the new church. The total cost, after a great deal of volunteer labor, was $4,100. This amount was paid in full and the church was dedicated in 1912.
Fellowship Hall was built in 1949 under the leadership of then pastor, the Reverend Arthur Huckaby. The church school wing, kitchen and offices were added later. The original sanctuary was taken apart in November of 1968 and the material given to people of Mexico. The existing congregation held worship in Fellowship Hall which had been transformed into an attractive sanctuary. During the appointment of the Reverend Karen Jeanette, 1977-1979, building plans for a new sanctuary were drawn up and a finance campaign was begun. First Street was discontinued by the city and became part of the church property to provide a sufficient area for a parking lot.
In 1979, arrangements were made with the Board of Global Ministries in New York for a $90,000 loan and a groundbreaking ceremony for the new sanctuary was held on July 31. A year and a half later, the project was completed. Feeling a need for more space for ministry, the congregation began an expansion program in the mid-1990’s. In 1995, a new pastor’s office, four new classrooms, and Sunshine Hall were added to the existing facility.
Today, Santee United Methodist Church stands as a testimony to God’s faithfulness. As the area around the church changed, effective ministry continued for over 100 years. True to its call from God, Santee UMC has remained a church in service to God and to the Santee community. We look forward to continued growth, expansion, renewal and revitaliztion.